Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada

Leaving the Village Behind

The final exploits of J.F.C. in the Norweigan town of Astridsgardheim before moving on.

Trent and Helldamn took the baby and went to the main Temple of Loki in this town of Astridsgardheim. At the Catholic Church they had all rested in, James stayed behind in order to interrogate the captured, bound and dangling Christian Knight. Zander went through the town and doused all the censers he could find that were burning the plague-causing incense and further destroyed the incense by immersing it in water, rendering it harmless.

The old priest at the Norse Temple was questioned by Helldamn and Trent regarding the plague-herb; where it came from, who told him to burn it and why it was so important. His affliction with the plague seemed to be creating difficulty in answering until Trent cast the spell Purge Other on him, curing him of all his ailments. Astounded, the old man eagerly began answering their questions.

Thor_Disciple.pngHe said he received a vision of a disciple of Thor about two years ago, telling him to burn the incense in order to restore faith in the Norse gods and destroy the Catholic Church. This woman, shrouded in lightning, further told him that his faith would be tested by doing this, and only those whose faith was impure would suffer. He further explained they received shipments of the herb monthly, and the next shipment was to arrive tomorrow.

James had been trying to have a similar conversation with the captured knight, Sigurd. Overhearing Trent and Helldamn’s conversation on the radio, James asked the knight similar questions and received a similar answer. He told James that an esteemed patriarch of the church named Father Dominicus Loricatus had visited them about two years ago and personally said what amounted to basically the same thing the Norse religious leaders were told. Upon hearing this James cut down Sigurd and led him to the Norse temple so that all parties could be present together.

Trent and Helldamn tried to convince the old Norse Priest that the incense must no longer be burned – that it was causing this plague and they all had been deceived by malevolent forces. Once Sigurd arrived with James and shared his story again, it became clear to both religions they had been played. Trent tried to get them to see ways in which the two religions could co-exist and work together to their mutual benefit, and while not seeming wholly successful at least the two religions decided to stop trying to immediately destroy one another.

The Norse priest, healed of the plague now, was confused as to why their temple was dedicated to Loki. Nobody, he said, dared to worship the Father of Lies. Trent, Helldamn and James relayed what they knew of Loki’s disappearance thus far and also this child’s unique “blessing” by Loki. With the Tongues spell, both the Norse Priest and Sigurd could clearly understand that the gibberish the child spouted was actually another language! Trent secured the promise form the Norse temples that the child and his mother would be well cared for by them in the future, and that the child would be kept safe.

Helldamn then escorted Sigurd back to the Christain Church, where Sigurd intended to bury his dead fellows. Helldamn offered to help and Sigurd let him, even though he was responsible for many of the deaths. As they dug the graves Helldamn used the opportunity to talk to Sigurd about his time in the Middle East as a part of the Crusades in the “Holy Lands.” Sigurd told him about relics he had seen such as the Ark of the Covenant, and other relics he had only heard about such as the Lance of Longinus. When they finished Sigurd showed Helldamn maps of that area which he had, and let Helldamn keep them.

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Meanwhile Trent left to go finally find the baby’s mother. He queried the townsfolk and discovered that the “whore of a woman” lived in a stable and was not well-regarded at all. Trent found her there and returned the baby to her. He explained what they knew about what had happened and he used the Tongues spell to allow her to hear the baby’s message, too. Trent filled her in on the deal they made with the Norse Temples and before they parted Trent left her with a Talisman of Tongues (in case the baby started saying something else weird) and a Talisman of Armor of Ithan (for protection). In thanks the mother gave Trent a small pouch that the baby’s father, Beowulf, had left with her before he left to go see King Hrothgar in Copenhagen.

James used this time during the day to seek those who were infected with the plague and offer to cure them. His newly unlocked divine powers took some time to use on each person but they did the trick, and James had managed to cure several of the more sick people in the town – some of whom he even convinced to worship him as the godly being he knew himself to be.

Trent, Helldamn and James met back up and discussed the prospect of using their combined abilities to cure everyone who was infected in the town. A task which could take days. Helldamn suggested that Trent turn his “Purge Other” spell into a massive ritual and just cure the town all at once that way. Trent agreed to try and while he and Helldamn started working out the logistics of such a thing, James began to spread the word and herd the townspeople into the center of town. Trent and Helldamn pooled their knowledge and despite their dangerous gaps still pieced together a ritual as best as they could.

With the townspeople ready Trent led the chants and the casting, while Helldamn, Zander, James, and the townsfolk lent their own magical energy to the task. Impossibly, the improvised ritual worked! The entire town population of Astridsgardheim was now plague-free, and would stay that way for as long as they continued to avoid burning any more of that incense. Trent was drained and immediately took off to retire at the inn where they all were staying. James tried to convince those assembled that he was the cause of their miraculous recovery, but most of them didn’t buy it. Some time later Zander, Helldamn and James also retired for the evening to await the arrival of the traders in the morning.

What_could_go_wrong.pngIn meditation Trent reflected on the ritual and realized just how lucky they were that it went well, and how easily it could have ended disastrously. He decided he wouldn’t do something like that again until he had taken a lot more time to study and set up such an event properly.

In the middle of the night a knock on the door disturbed the group from their rest. James answered it to find an etherial looking woman shrouded in shadow. She wished to say something to “the bearer of the gift.” When no-one immediately responded she looked at Trent anyway and said “. You should give it to the king.” With that said she turned and left, melding into the shadow. James followed her using thermal optics and was able to catch up with her outside. James got to ask her three questions and discovered this was the Norse goddess Hel, also a daughter of Loki. James irked the goddess but managed to get out of the situation alive and parted ways peacefully with the death goddess… for now.

Trent finally examined the pouch he received and sensed great magic coming from it. Upon opening it he saw a ribbon inside which was emanating all that magic. Using his computer and their knowledge of Magical Lore he and Helldamn deduced that this was, or was similar to, Gleipnir: the ribbon-thin chain which bound the Fenrir Wolf despite the wolf’s immunity to magic. A powerful treasure indeed! However, why wasn’t it on the wolf, they wondered? And why did Hel tell them to give it to the King? They reasoned that they probably should not do that, and that if it was meant for the king then Beowulf would’ve brought it there himself and not left it behind. With that settled they all resumed their meditations and sleep.

In the morning JFC intercepted the merchant caravan that arrived to deliver the plague-laced incense. They convinced the caravan of the danger its cargo held but got them to agree to “keep up the ruse” of delivering it so as not to rouse any suspicion back at the main distributors. Also, this kept everyone employed and happy. Before the caravan left to finish their deliveries across Norway and then return to Copenhagen, JFC set up to travel with them, so they could spread the word of the plague incense to the other villages, saving them as well. Two members of the Christian Church and two members of the Norse religion accompanied them as well, to help aid the group in convincing the other towns of the danger.

As they left Trent displayed some magic and the 4 reacted in awe. Trent rejected their admiration and instead told them that any mortal could learn to do what he did if they worked at it – there was nothing “divine” about the feats he could perform and he was just as mortal as them.

Over the next few weeks J.F.C. traveled with this caravan and the four religious representatives from town to town across Norway. James spent time in each town curing those in the town most afflicted by the plague, and Trent would use the magic to Purge Other sparingly – but never again as part of a major, massive ritual.

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The plot thickens!

Leaving the Village Behind
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